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Alvaro Morata puts Spain up early vs. Japan in final group stage match [VIDEO]

Spain goes ahead looking to spoil Japan’s bid to advance to the Round of 16.

Alvaro Morata of Spain controls the ball against Ao Tanaka and Hidemasa Morita of Japan during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group E match between Japan and Spain at Khalifa International Stadium on December 01, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Alvaro Morata scored his third goal in three games to put Spain up 1-0 early in their final group stage match vs. Japan on Thursday afternoon.

Morata’s hot start in the competition is great news for Spain, who have struggled at times to put the ball in the back of the net in the final third. This is also big news for Germany, who hold a 1-0 lead over Costa Rica and need Spain to defeat Japan to secure qualification to the knockout stage. If Spain draw, Germany will need to keep racking up goals in order to make up goal differential against Japan.

A win for Spain would secure the top spot in the group and a date with 2018 runners-up Croatia in the round of 16. That would be a tough matchup for the Spanish, although Morata’s form will give them confidence going forward in this tournament.